“You have spoken arrogantly against me,” says the Lord . “Yet you ask, ‘What have we said against you?’ – Mal. 3:13 NIV
Please click the link above to download the full text of this Ministration.
Today’s Devotional concludes the series of Devotionals devoted to the message of God, delivered to the people of Judah through the Prophet Malachi. Obviously, the people were experiencing very difficult times as it seems channels of blessings were drying up, with no hope of reprieve in the horizon. The people in their usual manner had approached the Almighty God with offerings, in their attempts at appeasing Him and with the expectation that the Almighty God, whom they have always known to relax His penalties after such acts on their part, will accept their offerings and do the usual, but they were left disappointed and frustrated. The absence of the expected reprieve from the Almighty God made the people resort to conclusions that seemed more like attempts at emotional blackmail of the personality of Jehovah by saying the following about Jehovah;
- His claims of being a loving and forgiving God was false, or how else can it be explained that they did all that was expected of them in their situation, and yet He did not relax His anger towards them – Mal. 1:2-5. It never mattered to them how many times they had been involved in a yo-yo-like relationship with Him yet He never stopped showing them mercy.
- His claims to being a God of Justice was wrong as it seems He was even more tolerant of, and seemed pleased with, the people who do evil whilst not willing to relax His anger expression towards them, despite all their attempts at seeking His forgiveness – Mal. 2:17. As far as they were concerned, they were sufficiently just to deserve another round of forgiveness and mercy as they felt they had done enough to appease Him
It was in this self justification mode that the people were, when Jehovah decided to highlight for them four reasons why their offerings became unacceptable, and consequently, could not restore their blessings to them, but not before defending Himself over the allegations of His being dishonest and hypocritical about His claims of loving them (Mal. 1:3-5), and that of Him loving injustice, by not easing their pain whilst those not worshipping Him seemed to be comfortable – Mal.2:17.
It was only after this that He highlighted the errors in their actions that was aimed at appeasing Him, which are as follows:
- He made them realize that they were offering blemished animals for sacrifices, contrary to his instructions on what the standard of items to be offered to Him, should be – Mal. 1:6-14. There was no way such sacrifices was going to strike the right chord with Him.
- He accused them of breaking faith with pledges made, or actually separating from the wife of their youth. He directly expressed His dislike for such acts stating it clearly that, He hates separation of all forms, and the breaking faith with pledges already made – Mal. 2:10-16.
- He highlighted and expressed His displeasure at their deep involvement in acts of injustice, wondering how they expected to have Justice from Him under in conditions – Mal. 2:17-3:5.
- Equally important was their deliberate or ignorant act of robbery against Him, by depriving Him of the actual value of what they brought before Him as tithes and offerings.
As far as He was concerned, there was no way He was going to accept such sacrifices, with all its blemishes. If they really wanted His reprieve, they will need to do the needful, with regards to what they brought before Him as sacrifice in such situations. Rather than doing things rightly, they chose to say harsh things against Jehovah, as revealed in the foundation scripture for today’s Devotional, and still considered themselves unloved and unjustly treated by Him – Mal. 3:13. Such harsh comments included their saying that, it was futile to serve Jehovah as there was nothing to gain from such service and their conclusions that He allows evil doers to prosper, allows the arrogant to get blessed and does nothing to all those who challenge Him. All these statements are evidently the product of their self justification, much like, “what else does He want after all they had done to please Him”.
That there are many Christians in similar situations today cannot be argued, who believe that Jehovah has been most unfair to them by being over-demanding. They are quick to reference all their activities, financial and physical, which in their opinion should be sufficient to grant them whatever their request to Him is. Frustrated by their not getting their demands, they resort to failed attempts at emotionally blackmailing Him. They are quick to reference people who they consider are not even observing the strict laws of Jehovah, yet are having things go their way. To them, there is no special advantage for worshipping Jehovah in a manner that they consider perfect. They simply refuse to see what is wrong with what they are doing as they consider their actions as the epitome of worship and so wonder what else this God wants from them if He really claims to be just and truly loves them. They consider their offerings sufficient to free them from any discomfort that their several acts of injustice has brought on them. In their opinion, they are sufficiently perfect to receive all that they desire of Him, except that He is simply not a loving and just God. In this thinking process, they worsen their case with Jehovah, who really does not need their approval to be who He is, nor does He need all their offerings to survive – Psa. 50:7-15. He remains Jehovah, whether men wish to acknowledge Him as such or not and making all those spurious allegations will never stop Him from being who He is.
Instead of sincerely assessing their ways and actions in an attempt to find what they have done wrong in the cause of presenting their offerings, they choose to go into personality war, that they will never win, with Jehovah.
The smart Christian will take a cue from the actions of those who fear the Lord as stated by Prophet Malachi (Mal. 3:16), who came together and did a deep introspection, identified where they got it wrong and quickly applied the necessary corrections. The Bible notes that a scroll of remembrance was instantly written concerning them because they honoured His name. Similar fate awaits all those who toe this path of self realization, and take all the necessary steps to correct the error in their presentation, as the Almighty God will declare them as His own on the day He gathers His treasured possessions, He will spare them all punishments that they may be experiencing, so as to make a distinction between those who fear and serve and those who do not – Mal. 3:17-18.
Stop justifying yourself, simply because you are yet to see what is wrong with your sacrifices, or worse still, because you chose to believe that you are too smart or saintly, to commit any error in the cause of presenting your offerings to Him. He is a just God and will never deprive you of what you deserve, after all, your discomfort adds nothing to Him. If you have found yourself in an unacceptable situation, trust and believe in Him sufficiently that He is able to get you out of it, which is why you chose to bring those offerings in the first place. Learn to trust Him to be ever loving and just. That He chose to penalise you is a clear sign that He loves you and your experience of pain and discomfort will bring no benefit to Him – Heb. 12:6; Prov. 3:11-12. Do not forget, He is aware that only the living can praise Him. Re-assess all those processes, ranging from the quality of the sacrifice you are bringing, to possible unfulfilled vows that you have made heretofore, to possible acts of injustice that you may be involved in, and are still involved in, and to the possibility of robbing Him, even in that offering that you pride yourself in by comparing what you received from Him with what you are giving, and you may just discover along the line, the reason why all those sacrifices remain unacceptable. Correcting all the errors discovered may just be the beginning of your return to blessing and comfort. May God grant you the clear and honest mind to do the needful in Jesus name. Amen.